Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.
Just got back from vacation, so this might strike you as an odd verse to pick out today, but work with me. You see, I did a bit of snorkeling and I have to say that as simple as snorkeling is, I’m not very good at it. Somehow I don’t get the mask on tight enough and water seeps in. So I try to fix it while treading water and of course I end up swallowing salt water. So I’m spitting this stuff out, trying to remember to kick, and flailing around with my mask, and all the while the panic reflex is rising. I’ve been swimming my whole life and yet the irrational fear of drowning in 10 feet of water despite being surrounded by dozens of people overwhelms me in that moment.
I think that is the kind of emotion the psalmist is talking about here. Yes, God saves us and we know he’s always the same and he’s always there right beside us. However, in a moment of panic, we feel like we’re drowning and can’t see the shore or God.
The Lord has sent us a life preserver though. The Holy Spirit lives within all believers and gives us that chance to hold onto something safe while we recover our wits. The best thing to do in a moment of panic is to stop, clear your head the best you can, and focus on praying to the Lord. All the metaphorical kicking and flailing about does more harm than good.
I feel like a scratched record (for you kids out there, that means I’m repeating myself) but the verse keeps popping into my head: “Be still and know that I am God.” The hardest step sometimes is to simply be still. But like Jesus on the boat with the disciples, there was never a need to worry in the first place. God is with you and that’s all that matters.